Archive for February, 2013

Viva La Airstream

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

airstream pinata

For our very first trip in our Caravel, Brian and I decide to take the dogs and head to Puerto Penasco, Mexico for 5 days! It’s an awesome treat for us to be able to get away from work for that long. Its not the smartest idea to leave the county in a 48 year old trailer that we know nothing about, but if you know Brian and me, we weren’t shorted on the adventurous gene. With a little research, we find that there are several places right on the beach where we can camp. Fresh seafood, fresh tortillas, good tequila… I am beyond excited!

I load up the newly scrubbed airstream with what we need for 5 days.  I am very pleased to find that there is so much space, especially considering our camping gear is all compact and miniature.  We even splurge and pack a few utensils that are not collapsible! I bring a glass measuring pitcher that holds TWO cups, and Brian brings along a life size cheese grater. We are both feeling very spoiled.

My first observation on the maiden voyage is that 48 year old cabinet latches stink. Note to self: Do not put items like a 2 cup glass measuring pitcher in the upper cabinets, or an acorn squash, or a jar of salsa, or anything else that can potentially become a deadly weapon.  I learn this first hand, because, YES…  I rode in the Airstream for a short while. Against Brian’s warnings, I wanted to witness what actually happens back there while traveling down the road.  I waited until we were in Mexico, because I have no clue if its illegal for me to ride back there in their country or not.

“I’ll just ask for forgiveness later”, I tell Brian.

“FROM THE MEXICAN FEDERALES?!”, he asks in a loud voice. But I jump into the trailer anyway. He hates me sometimes.

I bring Hazel to ride along with me. We set off down the washboard dirt road. After the first 15 seconds, Hazel is terrified. To a 6 pound dog, a flying acorn squash must feel like Armageddon.  Aside from items being launched from the upper cabinets, and the crappy gaucho things sliding in and out, it really wasn’t that bad. The stove burner grates flew, and the hanging clothes didn’t stay hung; but hey- it’s Mexico and we are camping. Wrinkles aren’t a problem.

What IS my immediate problem when we get to the site is: I must teach Brian NOT to slam the Airstream door. Over and over again.  I know the 48 year old latches stink, but if I can gently close the door and make it latch, then so can he. I know he can.

My second immediate task: I must teach the dogs NOT to bark at every single little noise. This is much more difficult, since they are not as smart as Brian. We are used to tent camping in remote areas all by ourselves. But now that we have the ability to hook up, we really wanted to try out an RV park.  This means other people, other dogs, lots and lots of things to bark about. Note to self: Check out humane shock collars.

My third task is to teach Brian NOT to yell at the dogs to stop barking, since it only adds to the noise pollution. Maybe they have shock collars for men too. (Just kidding, Babe).

Aside from noise pollution, the question that comes up regularly while camping in an unrenovated 48 year old trailer is, “What on earth is leaking?”  I learned that Mexican hook-ups are a bit suspect. When looking down the sewer drain, I can see the water level is only about 2 inches below the top. One glance to the left, and I see the next camp site has water over-flowing from the hole. Note to self: this could be a problem.

We keep the black water tank closed at first to dry camp for as long as possible. We’re trying to get an idea of how long things last. It didn’t last very long. We see leaking underneath the trailer that appears to be coming from the black tank, so Brian hooks up the sewer hose thing. Thanks to the camping gods, the water goes down the hole. He puts the black tank on the list of repairs. He hooks the water line up to the trailer and then warns me, “This is MEXICAN water”, as if I might be planning on drinking ANY water that comes out of a 48 year old trailer.

What Brian does forget to warn me about, is that the Caravel has no gray tank. Therefore, I did not know that when thoroughly scrubbing fresh Mexican clams in the kitchen sink with fresh running Mexican water, the clammy water would tend to back up into the bathroom.  Note to self: Do not place clean dry bath mat on the bathroom floor. Ever. You just never know what might come up.

NOW what is leaking? Apparently there is something called a pressure release valve on the hot water tank, and it tends to malfunction after 48 years and spew water.  Note to self: Never attempt a maiden voyage in a 48 year old trailer without Brian. I’m adventurous, but I’m not stupid.

The third night it rained. Thanks to the camping gods, we didn’t have to ask the same dreaded question. Fortunately, all of our leaking issues were below our heads. The short rain posed very few issues except that Brian was a bit concerned about the electrical hook ups.

Here’s a picture of what it looked like:

Mexico-Electric-Panel

I know nothing about electricity, but Brian puts on his list of things to pack next time… a voltage test meter, a surge protector and a bunch of other things I know nothing about. He was worried that if the wind forced the rain into the exposed electrical panel, it would be problematic.  However, I am not a girlie girl.  Like most men, I know duct tape fixes everything.

Here was my solution:

Mexico-Electric-Panel-Umbre

Brian replaced my leopard print umbrella and duct tape remedy with a Hefty garbage bag, but he gave me an A for effort. He likes me sometimes too.

And I love Mexico. Despite the primitive hook ups and bumpy roads, we are so fortunate to be able to park on the beach within 5 hours of leaving our driveway.  It’s winter; it’s 65 degrees & sunny, and I am sipping a margarita by the sea.  Life doesn’t get much better than this.

Mexico

 

Thou Shall Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Airstream

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

I learned an expensive lesson this week:  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s Airstream unless thou intends to buy it.  And pay a price that you will both still feel neighborly about afterward.

Our next door neighbor (yes, right next door) has a 1965 Airstream Caravel.  How thou did not know that thy neighbor had this trailer, sitting right next door, still astounds me.

I consider myself an observant person, so I rationalize that I’m just not that nosy.  Since most home lots around here are more than a couple acres, and there is plenty of desert brush to conceal things as big as a trailer, I never noticed it.  Brian, being a man, is really not that observant or nosy, but he finally sees it after living here for 3 years.

It’s like when your kid comes home and says she wants a VW Convertible Bug the color of wasabi, and you swear you’ve never seen a VW Convertible Bug the color of wasabi, let alone many convertible VW Bugs.  But as soon as she says this, it’s seems like all the VW wasabi colored bugs that VW ever made are suddenly driving all around Phoenix.

“It’s the splendor of the conscious mind”, my good friend Denise tells me.  “Humans have the amazing ability to tune things out in order to prevent information overload”.  Hmmm… I have noticed that Brian’s conscience mind is extremely good at this when I am trying to tell him what to do.

That day back in September when I first Googled Airstreams, I will swear that I had never seen one before.  The pictures were so intriguing because they were completely foreign to me at the time. Again, Denise, whose profession deals with the subconscious mind, would argue that I have probably seen many Airstreams in my life, but I simply did not “process” them with my conscious mind.

So, apparently, deep down within this huge reservoir of stuff piled in my subconscious mind, there are all sorts of Airstreams roaming around.  Truthfully, I am a little mortified, thinking about what else is roaming around down there.  I also shudder to think about what happens to all that stuff when you’ve had too many cocktails, and your unconscious mind has taken over.

I do notice that since that day in September, whenever we are driving on the interstate highway, or even around town, it is not that unusual for us to spot an Airstream.  Even on television, I see them and I “process” them now.  I just saw one on a Nissan commercial. I would also tell you that I saw one on this season of “The Bachelor”, but then I would have to admit that I watched this season of “The Bachelor”.

Wisely avoiding really bad T.V., Brian has been diligently working on Elvis and he will be perfect someday soon.  I have been very patient, but my conscious and subconscious minds are still coveting the 1965 Caravel next door.  Albeit, there is not much more space inside of the little Airstream than our old tent, but I still want it.  BAD.  It has that cuteness factor that I just cannot resist.  Hazel and Stella are completely grateful for this weakness.

So, even though my conscious mind says loud and clear, “Brenda, you do not need another trailer!”, I make a deal with thy neighbor that we both feel neighborly about, and the 1965 Caravel is mine!  (Denise didn’t say that I had to listen to my mind.)

I am such a happy girl!  We can really go camping now!  Let’s just hope the bank feels happy about processing that check I just wrote.

About the Author

After searching for the perfect travel trailer to make camping experiences more enjoyable, I discovered the world of Airstreams. I’m not only learning a lot about Airstreams, but I’m learning a lot about myself, my relationships, and how an aluminum trailer added into the mix can change your life.